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Hunterstown top their intermediate group by beating Dundalk Young Irelands in Darver

Hunterstown top their intermediate group by beating Dundalk Young Irelands in Darver

It was a tale of two penalties under the Saturday night lights in Darver as Hunterstown Rovers overcame Dundalk Young Irelands – yet again – in the intermediate championship.

ne Louth player, Ryan Burns, tucked his spot-kick away early on, while late in the game, another of Mickey Harte’s men, Peter McStravick, sent his attempt over after nicking the top of the crossbar. That contrast in finishing highlighted Young irelands’ woes and why Hunterstown are putting their hands up for silverware.

Had McStravick found the back of the net, there would only having been a point between the sides with six minutes left to play and a whole lot of momentum behind Adrian O’Donoghue’s men.

However, it wasn’t to be and along with the Irelands’ fortune went the grandstand finale that the neutral among the hearty crowd would have liked. Burns would duly end a slow-burning contest with an exemplary free-kick from long range.

TACTICAL

Tactical from the very start, both sides know each other so well, so matchups, space and formations were very regimented from the opening whistle. A lot of lateral play, with slow build up, blighted the affair but Burns’ presence always gave Rovers the edge.

Irelands burst through on two occasions for clear shots on goal in the opening half, Jordan O’Donoghue and Dean Maguire being denied by the excellent Niall Carrie.

The form of the netminder on the night might be a reminder for Harte, who was a little bit hasty in his decision to cut the Hunterstown man early this season before James Califf came on the scene.

Glen Mathews, once again, set the tone for his side, slapping over the first point of the game. Then Burns was pulled down by both his marker Ciarán Murray and Peter McCourt.

Burns found the net, but it seemed to jolt Irelands to life as goalkeeper Fergal Sheekey became a constant outlet on the right-hand side, serving as a proxy right half-back despite his jersey number. This ensured the Dundalk men of width and a way into the game.

Whether by design or distraction, O’Donoghue, Dermot Mone and a whipping effort from new addition Ruairí Kelly had the Marist men off the mark with three successive points in a defiant response.

But there was a feeling that the early goal would dictate things and it played out that way.

Rovers replied with three unanswered points of their own, Tony McKenna, Burns and youngster James Rogers all on target with their left foot.

Shane Halpenny was pivotal to the latter’s register, The youngster is having a profound impact on Colm Donnelly’s charges this season, serving as a constant threat and source of possession.

Cian O’Donoghue ended the half with a well-worked score to make it 1-4 to 0-4 at the break.

But Burns then stood up like he has done so many times down the years with three sublime points from play, jinking and arcing them over the crossbar.

Wing-back David Finn also got in on the act, running a great line off Rogers’ break to seal the contest. Well, that’s what it felt like at the time but Irelanders went man-to-man and hit four in a row.

But the penalty miss in between wiped all the heart away for the Dundalk men and Rovers edged into the last eight as table toppers.

HUNTERSTOWN ROVERS: Niall Carrie; Cillian Taaffe, Martin Lennon, Patrick Taaffe; Alan Landy, Dáithí Carroll, Shane Halpenny; Jason Monaghan, Tony McKenna 0-1; James Rogers 0-1, Glen Mathews 0-1, David Finn 0-1; Paul Carrie, Ryan Burns 1-5 (1-0 pen, 1f), Dean Burns. Subs: Aaron Levins for D Burns (56), Brendan Lennon for Rogers (60).

DUNDALK YOUNG IRELANDS: Fergal Sheekey; Con O’Donoghue, Ciarán Murray, Peter McCourt, Jamie Browne, Mickey Mone, Cian O’Niaraigh; Ruairí Kelly 0-1, Peter Nixon; Dean Maguire, Dermot Mone 0-1, Peter McStravick 0-2 (0-1pen); Jordan O’Donoghue 0-2, Cathal Ferriter, Cian O’Donoghue 0-2. Subs: Kevin Keelan for Nixon (42), Stephen Bellew for O Naraigh (60).

REFEREE: Kevin Brady (Dundalk Gaels).

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